Stupid Genius

- Making mistakes is our rights, learning from them is our responsibilty.

- "I have no choice" is another way of saying "I've have chosen the easier option"

- Genius is 99% perspiration and 1% inspiration - Thomas A Edison

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Location: Singapore

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Recently, I am assigned to a Bhutan project. I get to go there and stay for 1.5 months. This quite a rare opportunity as their government imposes a daily tax on tourists. Including your logdging and food, it's going to cost you at least US$200 daily. And the visa application currently has a 7 months waiting list. Wow.

Before going, my CEO had already told us how beautiful the place is. I am about to find out if that's true.

There's only 1 flight to Bhutan. Their own airline, Druk Air. Druk means dragon in Bhutanese and it's also an alternate name to Bhutan. Druk Air flies from Bangkok to India and then to Bhutan. You board the plane at either of these 2 places. It's early in the morning, so we decided to go to Bangkok the previous day and take the flight from there.

We took a 12:25pm flight from Singapore to Bangkok. Our flight to Bhutan is 5:50am. So we checked into Novotel Hotel. There was some issue with the taxi to our hotel. 5 of us came. Normally, 5 person can be squeezed into 1 taxi, but we had too much luggage, so we have to split into 2 taxis. Or 2 vans. I know that the taxi fare to the hotel is about 300B. There are people at the airport to entice us to take their vans/limo for 1200B. Normally, if they let me go at 600B, I am willing. It's the same price of 2 taxis anyway. And normally, we can find such deals. But on that day we can't. So we went to the taxi queue to get 2 taxi. 2 of my colleagues board 1 taxi and left. 3 of us board the 2nd taxi. Unfortunately, there's not enough space for our luggage. I felt, it can go in with a bit of squeeze, but the driver is not willing, so we took out our luggage to find an alternate 1. The other taxis refused as well. A taxi van offered to take us for 800B, but we disagree. Finally a taxi van agreed to take us for 600B. So we spent a total of 900B for 2 taxis. This taxi driver is quite helpful. He even offered to take us from our hotel to the airport at 3am for only 600B. We thought it's a good deal so we took up his offer.

[IMAGE: Novotel Room]
Novotel Room
Novotel is quite nice. The room is quite spacious. Too bad they don't provide free Internet. I still prefer Bangkok City Suite.

[IMAGE: Minibar]
Minibar
The mini bar is quite comprehensive. Looks like a lot of things there. If you look carefully on the bottom right corner, you might see a packet of condoms.

[IMAGE: Toilet]
Toilet
I think the toilet is quite nice a well. there's a bathroom scale. And I especially like their bathroom amenities. You can see it under the the left side of the mirror.

[IMAGE: View from the window]
View from the window
And the best thing about my room? The window view of course! :P

On checking in, we went for some shopping in MBK and Pantip Plaza. It's a bit shiok in that it's an official working day and we are shopping. One of my boss is here with us as well. After that is dinner and back to hotel for a short nap.

Getting up at 3am to go to airport is really a killer. We were all so tired. And the worse thing is that our Bhutan customer forgot to send us the visa numbers, and the airline counter refused to let us check in. We have to talk to the manager for awhile before he agreed. The view on the plane is good though. We were told by my CEO that we should sit on the left side, and all of us took the left window seat. However Ser Wah gave up his window seat to the pretty lady sitting beside him. Should have gotten her phone number at least. Haha!


[IMAGE: Air Stewardess]
Air Stewardess
This is the Druk Air Stewardess. I think her costume is interesting. Looks Chinese.

[IMAGE: Mud River]
Mud River
First thing I see is this. I think it's a mud river. Looks like a river, but there looks like no water...

Plane ViewThen I see this. There's nothing much. Some mountains in the distance that I can't really make out.

MountainsThen I see this. The mountain in the middle is Mt Everest.

[IMAGE: Mt Everest]
Mt Everest
This is a close up of the great mountain.

I forgot to take a picture of the airport. I will have to do it next time. It's beautiful. There are someone at the custom to receive us. The airport is in Paro. The capital, where we are supposed to work at is in Thimphu, which is 1 hour drive away.

[IMAGE: Hotel Dragon Roots]
Hotel Dragon Roots
1 hour later, we arrive at Hotel Dragon Roots. It's quite a small hotel, but it will do fine. The people here are nice and friendly. And the food here is pretty similar to what we have at home as it's mainly indian and chinese influenced.

[IMAGE: Office]
Office
They set a space in the hotel for our office.

[IMAGE: Room]
Room
This is our room. It's quite small.

[IMAGE: Hotel View]
Hotel View
This is the view out our window.

[IMAGE: Outside Hotel]
Opposite Hotel
This is opposite our hotel.

Overall, it's quite cold when we first arrived. It has since moved towards the summer season, so temperature quite ok. My lips were cracking though. And as the air is thin, we pant easily. Walking briskly up the stairs to the 4th floor has been panting like no tomorrow.

That's all for now, till my next post, if I ever do it...

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